How Parcel Lockers Can Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

Since the online shopping boom due to COVID lockdowns, people who otherwise would have never gotten used to the act grew comfortable using it as a means to shop. This has resulted in a large uptick in carrier tuck movement, adding to concerns over carbon emissions. 

When the lockdowns were relevant, there was no impact environmentally because there were so many people who were not driving the way they would have normally. Passenger traffic dropped considerably, leaving the added emissions gained by the boost in carrier traffic left unnoticed.

Now, everyone’s back on the road similarly to pre-COVID times, but the carrier traffic remains elevated far more than it was prior.  Carbon emissions differences have become measurably increased- particularly in densely populated areas. 

This leaves cities, states, and countries to try and figure out how to curb these emissions without becoming burdensome to the citizenry- which is no small task! 

Parcel Lockers: New Ideas to Solve Old Problems

It seems odd that something as simple as a parcel locker could help to eliminate a significant portion of CO2 emissions. However, as odd as it may seem, it begins to make sense when you take a look at how much they change the game.

Although parcel lockers have been around for a while, their importance has gained more weight since the shipping boom. They have proven to be a great solution in terms of convenience for both the carrier and recipients.  

They have solved the person-to-person contact issues that were brought to our attention during COVID, kept our packages safe from theft, and allowed recipients a more convenient and efficient way to grab their deliveries. 

From the carrier side, they have more time freed up by dropping deliveries at a parcel locker than they do otherwise. And this brings us to the matter at hand, which is how and why parcel lockers assist in reducing carbon emissions. 

Carbon Emission Reduction Through Last Mile Management

When a package ships from its point of origin and begins the route to the end customer, it’s not traveling alone. Alongside it is several other packages headed to the same region. 

In this sense, the additional packages don’t make any real impact in terms of emissions, as it is hitching a ride in a shipment that was already scheduled to move. However, after taking the trek from the factory to the general area of the customer’s residence, this is where things start to change as far as CO2 emissions go.

Once reaching a hub local to the customer, it then takes a trip that, unlike the cross-country type shipment, is more revolving around that particular package. In other words, the carrier is making a special trip that he wouldn’t have had to make otherwise if you didn’t order that package. 

The space between the local carrier hub and the end user is referred to as the “last mile.”

What is the Definition of “Last Mile” in the Delivery World?

The “last mile” is the final stretch that gets your package in your hands. This is where the online shopping boom has taken its greatest toll emission-wise. 

The idea is that dozens of smaller trucks buzzing around delivering packages consume much more fuel and produce much more CO2 than one big truck with a bulk load of packages. 

The less driving required the less CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere and the less of an impact it creates. 

The Efficiency of Parcel Lockers

The efficiency of parcel lockers promotes less driving for carriers in terms of the last mile deliveries. When an area has no parcel lockers available, carriers frequently have to:

  • Drive in a door-to-door type manner to deliver packages to different customers.
  • Make return visits to individual customers due to unavailability or not being around to receive packages.

Needless to say, making the same trip more than once isn’t all too efficient, nor is having to deal with repeatedly starting and shutting off the truck’s engine every other house to make deliveries; even worse is leaving the truck at idle while bouncing between houses. 

Parcel lockers situated in apartment buildings, a hub at housing associations, upon entrance into a dead-end road, or even into the entrance of a large yet densely populated neighborhood, can make an enormous positive impact regarding CO2 emissions produced by carriers. 

The efficiency provided by parcel lockers decreases road time for carriers, and in turn, reduces carbon emissions.

Less Congestion in Cities or Densely Populated Areas

When you’re talking about less driving by carriers as well as less driving by customers to pick up packages, you’re not just reducing emissions, but you’re also reducing road congestion in densely populated areas. 

Admittedly, this doesn’t eliminate all road traffic, but it makes a difference and is a step in the right direction. 

NYC to be Carbon Neutral by 2050

New York City has taken the matter of CO2 emissions very seriously and has set an ambitious course to have made drastic changes by 2030, with the end goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. 

For structures that fall under the local laws being established (chiefly local law 97), parcel lockers will become more relied upon than ever to assist in reductions regarding shipping and receiving. Buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet will be required to meet certain emission criteria, affecting how day-to-day operations are managed.

This blankets commercial buildings as well as residential apartment buildings. Methodologies, limits, and everything in-between are hoped to be optimized in such a way that greenhouse gas emissions are rolled back to 2005 levels. 

Eyes in cities such as NYC are witnessing how much of an impact parcel lockers have made across Europe concerning emission reduction. They will certainly become a much greater factor in cities across the United States in the effort to curb greenhouse gasses. 

Final Thoughts

There is no “one big thing” that will solve the problem of carbon emissions. However, there is a multitude of small solutions that wind up making an impact positively. 

The strategic placement of parcel lockers is a win-win. They make drop-off and receiving deliveries a much better experience than it once was while reducing Co2 emissions at the same time.

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